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A Lesson from Curves on Small Business Marketing

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

There was a 10 x 14 insert advertisement for Curves in today’s West side addition of the Los Angeles Times. It was the traditional Curves pink and purple colors. There was some advertisement about a women’s fitness special on one side of the flyer but what piqued my interest was what was on the other side. The side of the flyer that I saw first featured a directory of Curves fitness facilities in the Los Angeles County area.

LA County curves flyer

Notice on the flyer Curves advertises a microsite ( rather than their primary website ( They also use a custom toll-free phone number for Los Angeles County locations.

There are several takeaways from this. One is that the advertisement shows unity amongst the franchises in the LA County area. To my knowledge each business is independently owned. It’s likely the idea to market to the LA County area is coming from both the individual and corporate levels.

I’ve often told small-business owners in specific niche markets that it would be in their best interests to team up and create a combined Web presence. It’s fine to have your own business website or blog, but a county, city, or metro area site that featured other business locations in the same industry, is a great addition (especially when competing in the local search market against big directory companies).

We’ve had Los Angeles County Chiropractor Pages for a few years now. We’ve also had directory pages for dozens of other counties and metros, featuring pages for chiropractors in areas such as Orange County (also in Southern California).

A simple blog created by four local Santa Monica West Los Angeles area chiropractors resulted in a site called Chiropractic Santa Monica, and works are underway to add several more chiropractors serving the nearby communities. If you’re in an industry that is ultra-competitive and does not refer to one another this may be more difficult for you, but two or three independent business owners serving a similar niche can really accomplish some nice results when working together.

Another thing to pay attention to is that on the main Curves web site (see the links above) there are no hyperlinks in the footer of the homepage. However, the LA County website has links to a number of other localized sites. Locations include Chicago, Houston, the Inland Empire, Orange County, Sacramento, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and others. It would be reasonable to assume that these businesses could be rolling out similar sites in all major metro areas, resulting in potentially hundreds of web destinations, rather than just the primary corporate domain.

Other fitness industries, niche health-care markets, and a number of service based small businesses could learn from these examples. I was more interested in the internet side of things rather than the effectiveness of the print advertisement.

From the distribution perspective it was impressive to see such a large number of business locations listed on one newspaper insert. A total of 57 locations were listed on the circulated flyer. Locations included cities throughout Los Angeles County such as Arcadia (Baldwin Avenue), Brentwood (San Vicente Boulevard), Covina (2nd Ave), Glendale (three locations were listed), Inglewood (8th Ave), Belmont Heights (4th St), Montrose (Clifton Place), Rancho Palos Verdes (South Western Ave.), Signal Hill (E. Willow St), Temple City (Rosemead Blvd.), Whittier (Washington Boulevard), and Woodland Hills (Ventura Boulevard).

I don’t know of if there are more than 57 locations in the Los Angeles County area. If I get more information, I will post it here.


1 Comment

  1. A few years ago, I went through the trouble of collecting the names and addresses of over 100 chiropractors in the San Francisco area. I sent them a letter suggesting that a marketing co-op be formed. Specifically, I wanted to have a half-page print ad in the city’s major newspaper (SF Chronicle) that advertised chiropractic, with the names of 1-2 chiropractors per neighborhood. We’d all split the cost. The idea was that prospects would call the chiropractor closest to them. I chose the name Premier Chiropractic Group. Well, I got some scattered responses. What I discovered was that some chiros did not like some of the other chiros I said were interested, and they didn’t want to be associated with them, so they didn’t join. I also got the impression that chiros in general believe that such advertising isn’t worth the money.

    That ended my efforts to “team up” with other chiros in marketing. We all basically sit in our own offices, and don’t really talk to one another.

    Sad, but true.

    Dan Perez, DC
    San Francisco Chiropractor

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